Chronic low back pain and other chronic pain conditions are usually notoriously difficult to treat. This is because for the most part, the causes of such pain are usually difficult to figure out, which means that most people end up having to adapt to them rather than getting a definitive cure. Even if they end up getting medication that works, the fact that the pain is chronic means that they might need to keep using it for quite some time, which then exposes them to various side effects. A good way to avoid this is by using alternative means of therapy, such as medical acupuncture.
What is it?
Most people discount the benefits of acupuncture since it’s a form of alternative treatment, which not many people have faith in. However, you should keep in mind that there are many forms of acupuncture you can get to treat various conditions such as chronic pain. Medical acupuncture is one of these. It is similar to traditional Chinese acupuncture, which involves the placement of needles in strategic locations on one’s body in order to achieve a certain medical benefit.
However, the difference between it and medical acupuncture is the fact that the latter incorporates the knowledge of physiology, anatomy and neurology. In addition to that, medical acupuncture involves the use of low frequency electrical stimulation on the needles in order to enhance the effect of the therapy. This makes it more potent than traditional acupuncture in the treatment of chronic pain.
What are the specific ways in which it works to reduce pain?
Medical acupuncture works in several ways to reduce pain. First, it induces muscle relaxation. Increased tension has been shown to be a particular cause of pain, which is why some medications that make muscles relaxed can decrease pain levels. The advantage of using medical acupuncture for this is that not only does it work faster, but is also free of side effects. In addition to that, acupuncture also changes the way your body responds to stress, which in turn gives you an overall effect of relaxation. It may also influence the way pain signals are transmitted within the nervous tissue in your body as well.
What are the treatments like?
Many people are afraid of needles, and usually avoid going for acupuncture on this basis. However, if you work with a high quality acupuncturist, this is something that you will not need to worry about at all. The needles are usually placed in very well selected points on the body, so that you will not feel any pain at all. Once the electrical impulse is started, you will only feel a tingling sensation over your body, but this is usually in no way comfortable. Besides, in the unlikely event that you feel uncomfortable once the process is started, you can simply tell the person doing it, and they will immediately stop.
The nature of the sessions often depends on the individual’s needs. However, a typical session will last around half an hour, and the number of needles used will also depend on the patient’s body size and the reason for acupuncture. After the first treatment, you will often notice an appreciable decline in the pain levels, and this is usually quantified as between 15 and 20%. The pain will further decrease during subsequent treatments. It’s important to note that unlike many other types of treatment, using acupuncture to treat chronic pain can sometimes yield immediate results.
Are there any side effects you should expect?
Usually, the needles used to do the acupuncture are small and sterile, so side effects such as infections are very rare. However, there are a few things you might experience as a result of the stimulation of your nervous system by the electricity, which include a feeling of light headedness and some sweating. However, this is often not very uncomfortable.